Jan 9, 2011

Teddy Bears

A couple of years ago I joined this community craft group that met every Tuesday, to do various crafty stuff. I started out doing folk art, which I'd never tried before. I eventually got asked to teach that class. Which I did for a couple of semesters. Then the folk art finished and I joined the teddy bear group. So these are some of my creations. It's quite a process making bears. After you pick the pattern and the right material. You have to make sure all the pattern pieces are placed facing the right way so your teddy doesn't look like he went through a wind tunnel with fur sticking out in all directions. While cutting out the pieces you have to make sure you don't cut the fur but the material below the fur, so that your teddy doesn't look like he has seems when finished (or that he has a really bad hairdresser). next you need to paint on some glue to the wrong side of the fabric along the edges so they don't fray. Then you have to hand sew the pieces together along the edges (tucking in the fur as you go), so its easier to machine sew them (leaving a small opening for attatching the joints and later for stuffing). The feet are tricky because you have to sew in the soles last. After doing a triple machine stitch around all the pieces (You don't want ted busting at the seems) you are then ready to assemble the bear. Starting with attaching the arms and legs first. My bears all have proper movable disk joints. Which are fastened with lock nuts so the limbs don't come off later on. It's a bit tricky getting your two ring spanners in through the small openings of the two different body bits to tighten up the nuts. Once you do that you then stuff the limbs with real cotton, using a special wooden tool, making sure it is tight and not lumpy. Then do a blind stitch to close up the small gap you left for stuffing.
The head is stuffed separately with Synthetic fill (I'll explain why). When its full you hand sew a running stitch around the neck.  After you have sewn the ears and turned them the right way out you position them on the head and sew them on with a very curved needle. The head is stuffed with the synthetic fill because it's impossible to sew through the cotton. You pick out the eyes (my bears have glass eyes) and using an extremely long needle, sew them onto the head coming out through the neck opening and pulling very tightly so that you give the head a nice indentation where the eyes are. Tie off threads from both eyes and leave excess thread in head. Place a joint disk inside the neck with the screw facing out, then tighten the thread, closing up the neck, and enclosing the joint disk into the head cavity.Joining the head onto the bear involves holding the neck joint disk with a shifter and screwing the lock nut onto the screw from inside the body cavity. The head is now joined to the body. Now you stuff the body with the cotton fill, and blind sew the opening. Next you pick out your nose. Some people use a plastic nose but I like to do the traditional sewn nose. Which is usually made with a nice black, or brown embroidery cotton. The nose is a very individual thing for a bear. As long as its sewn neatly and straight. Then you make three stitches for the mouth, pulling in slightly to give it a nice shape. To finish some people stitch the paws and feet  to give them more detail.
The three big bears were machine sewn. The little fluffy white bear and the miniature bear where completely hand sewn. And yes the miniature was a PAIN to make and he DOES have movable joints, and sewn feet. I have made a few more over the years that I gave away, and I still have a few more, waiting to be brought to life.
One day I will get around to it..lol.
My favourite is the gorgeous blue and brown fella in the back.


  1. I was thinking the same thing! The brown and blue one is just gorgeous!!! They ALL are!!!! You are BEYOND talented!
    Wish you lived in the States...I would custom order one!
    It sounds like a lot of painstaking work!

  2. My sister-in-law makes toys like this. She amazes me and so do you.

  3. @Caren He is lovely and very huggable. It is alot of work but the end result is worth it.

    @dbs Thankyou very much!

  4. These are far beyond "crafty stuff". Impressive. Not sure if it would be worthwhile, but what about selling on etsy.com?

    The fuzzy white bear appears to have some Yeti genes in him :)

    Great "stuff". Pun intended.

  5. @A&G The white bear (Called Treacle) Was made from my own pattern. It was an interesting bear to sew, given the hair so long and his arms and legs so little. I may sell them one day but not the three big ones. They are not really artist Bear quality.
    I have a mohair one ready to be put togeather and I am going to spend alot of time on her and make her perfect. I may not want to sell her though :)LOL.

  6. Hey! I discovered you through LaughingMyAbsOff and gave you an Awesome Blog Award today on my blog! happy writing! :)

  7. They are so cute! I like the one next to the blue and brown, he looks like Winnie the Pooh.

    Hey, how are you guys going up there with the floods? Are you alright?

  8. Teddy Bears are natural tools for healing all types of mental health problems. As a licensed clinical social worker, I have spent quite a few years teaching professionals how to organize these cute, appealing toys into a model that can be highly effective in gathering information extraordinarily fast in a treatment session. I have heard stories of the benefits of sleeping with a teddy bear, giving teddy bears to trauma victims, and of holocaust survivors holding on to teddy bears as a lifeline of support. funny teddy bear names


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